In the mid-1960s, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–1972) articulated what might be seen as the basis of interfaith concerns: “Revelation is always an accommodation to the capacity of man. No two minds are
alike, just as no two faces are alike. The voice of God reaches the spirit of man in a variety of ways, in a multiplicity of languages. One truth comes to expression in many ways of understanding.”
This always made sense to me. Deep and thoroughgoing interreligious conversation is useful, if not crucial, in understanding the similarities and differences between various peoples of the world—and, make no mistake, both similarities and differences are important, giving us a more complete picture of our neighbors. It’s true in any relationship. To really hear each other—not just in regard to our agreed upon ideas but also in our palpable distinctions—this is what relationship is all about. For example, married couples whose marriages last—they know the value of honest dialogue, of sincere back and forth, of serious communication. No talk, no understanding. The usual result of such disharmony: Divorce. Do we want to be divorced from our brothers and sisters in other religious traditions?